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Blockchain in Supply Chain of Pharmaceutical Industry – Key element for Industry 4.0

8th Oct, 2020
Blockchain in Supply Chain of Pharmaceutical Industry – Key element for Industry 4.0

With the current pandemic, industries around the world are experiencing a revolution. A revolution that is going to change the future of how the industries operate. We are looking at newer opportunities, bold opportunities borrowed from other fields to transform how our industries operate. One such revolution that we are looking at, in the pharma industry, is the application of Blockchain in supply chain. We asked Srikant Prakash, from Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients Business shares on how the evolution of blockchain in supply chain in pharma industry.

“With healthcare being the number one topic being discussed around the world, Pharma Industry continues to play an important role in attaining the goals for the global community. And as industries around the world move towards 4th Industrial revolution (Popularly known as Industry 4.0) we can expect an increased inclination towards Cyber-Physical Systems. Pharma too needs to evolve and adopt new innovative ecosystem to tackle the problems related to the respective industries.

The interest in Blockchain is quickly increasing and has received praise for its far-reaching applications across the industry. Almost a decade old with its origins in the field of crypto currency, now the presence has been felt in nearly every sector where companies are using it to improve and streamline their existing processes.

Role of blockchain in industry 4.0

Pharma Industry is going through many challenges like data disparity, rising customer expectation with increase in Competition, difficulty in supply chain in these unprecedented times and others. Although all challenges cannot be sorted via Blockchain only but it holds the key to some of them. Blockchain brings in 4 features with it i.e. privacy, transparency, security and traceability which will help with industry’s practices and global regulations. This further fosters innovations, helps develop more integrated systems and smoother, more secured flow of information. Like all manufacturing processes this will have an impact in Active Pharmaceutical Industry as well.

Blockchain in supply chain – Making processes faster

From sending sensitive documents securely to pharma supply chain to inventory management, blockchain in supply chain can help mitigate these challenges. One of the biggest benefits of blockchain technology is the ability to create an auditable trail and establish drug provenance across the entire supply chain. With a decentralized blockchain solution, both manufacturers and their clients would be able to independently verify the quality and point of origin of drugs quickly and securely. Problems in the medical supply chain are neither new, nor uncommon, and it’s easy to see why: These products can travel through tangled, global supply chains in which documentation is often manual and paper based, piling up at each handoff and border crossing. This results in theft and quality control issues which are common, and regulators and distributors struggle to locate substandard products that have entered the system. With a blockchain — which can make it cheaper, easier, and faster to verify what is true when a business process spans organizations with competing interests — companies can safely work together in a shared, permanent ledger.

Blockchain – The answer for increasing agility

The cost as well as time to implement and achieve the objectives with blockchain solutions is not insignificant as it requires manpower training and a complete existing system overhaul. Moreover, by its nature Indian pharmaceutical industry is conservative and there is a more of a traditional approach in the way data is stored and managed, despite the potential benefits of ever changing technology. Still with its own limitations, blockchain could not only help us increase agility during crisis, but also help us operate better in day-to-day operations. In the ongoing crisis with respect to COVID 19, we now know that our health and economic welfare is interconnected with those thousands of miles away, it becomes clearer that we need to leverage our global resources to effectively fight large-scale problems. Blockchains could help us do this more safely and efficiently.”